It’s been an exciting year for bicycling news in and around Dallas, and though we have a long way to go before we start catching up to leading-edge bicycling cities, we’re beginning to make strides in the right direction. BFOC polled bicycle advocates throughout the region to help us create our first “Best of the Year” awards list pulling together favorites from Oak Cliff and beyond. Congratulations to all who made the cut!
News of the Year: Adoption of the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan
In 2008, Dallas was labeled the “Worst city for bicycling” by Bicycling Magazine, and at the time it was easy to see why. Cities throughout the nation were installing progressive European-influenced bicycle infrastructure at a rapid pace, and ridership levels were beginning to rocket in places like Tuscon, Minneapolis, and Austin, all while Dallas continued advocating for larger auto-only road networks. In 2010, NCTCOG released $300,000 to the city of Dallas to develop a new bike plan that would incorporate the latest alternatives in modern infrastructure. Toole Consulting was hired to help develop the plan with Seattle’s former bike coordinator, Peter Lagerwey, leading the charge. After a year of research, road analysis, and public meetings, the plan was unanimously adopted by the city council. Once completely installed, the 2011 Dallas Bike Plan will provide 255 miles of on-street bike lanes, 188 miles of on-street bike routes, and 456 miles of off-street trails.
While all of this news bodes well for the city, a last minute change to the plan’s final wording removed stipulations that would turn the effort into an official policy document. Sadly, by removing “the teeth” from the plan, it is now viewed merely as a “recommendation”. Though a handful of projects are promised for early installation, none of the alignments outlined within the plan are required to be reviewed or implemented by city staff.
Councilperson of the year: Scott Griggs
2011 proved to be one of the first year’s that Dallas has seen multiple outspoken bicycle advocates on the council. Angela Hunt has been a consistent champion, and more recently, Delia Jasso and Pauline Medrano have highlighted support, but our best of the year award goes to the rookie councilman, Scott Griggs. Scott has been a bicycling advocate for many years, and the only member of the horseshoe that can regularly be seen riding to the office. Griggs beat an incumbent councilman (an extremely rare occurrence) with a ground campaign led by many neighborhood cycling advocates. This year, Griggs headed the “Bike to City Hall” ride and has committed himself to seeing the Dallas Bike and Complete Streets Plans move off of the page and onto the street.
Most Bike Friendly Business in Oak Cliff: Eno’s
This neighborhood pizza tavern in the Bishop Arts District has been the headquarters for many community activism efforts in Oak Cliff, and the Spillers family has been regular supporters of local bicycling initiatives since day one. From sponsoring OCBC races and holding charity goldsprints in the upstairs bar, to providing root beer floats for iBikeRosemont school rides and lining their outside walls with hanging bike racks, Eno’s has never hesitated to take part and help us promote bicycle culture throughout the community. We’re lucky to have them, and look forward to many more years of beer, pizza, and bicycles!
Best Bicycling Infrastructure: Santa Fe Trail
Riding from White Rock Lake to the edge of Deep Ellum became a lot easier this year after the official opening of the Santa Fe Trail in November of 2010. Everyday, cyclists and runners can be seen traversing this beautiful path that wends through historic East Dallas neighborhoods while connecting two of our city’s most popular landmarks. If you haven’t had the chance to ride this route, we highly recommend it, and if you can, donate to the “Friends of Santa Fe Trail” to keep this amazing asset maintained.
Best Tweed Ride Outfit: Chimney Sweep
Best bike friendly photographer: Elliott Munoz
Pegasus News contributor, and bow-tie bedecked Oak Cliff cyclist Elliott Munoz edged out a small group of shutterbugs for our 2011 Best Bike Friendly Photographer Award. When Elliot isn’t riding from one event to the next throughout the city covering news and more, he can be found in his small, hip office above Bolsa restaurant editing hundreds of day-in-the-life photos that splash across the interwebs.
Best Dallas Bike Blogger/Journalist: Chris Curnutt
If you’re looking for photos from the latest local bike event, or ideas for decking out your vintage Schwinn, Chris Curnutt at Biking in Dallas has you covered. Chris Curnutt and Michael Hubbard started their blog over a year ago with an eye for highlighting the beauty of bicycle culture in Dallas. As the blog has continued to gain momentum, Chris’s reporting and photography have become the site’s highlights with beautiful images that remind us all of the romance to be found when taking the slow lane. Biking in Dallas has become our city’s answer to ecovelo.info, and we’re proud to have them as part of our region’s cycling family.